How to Activate Your Digital Cable Box

Every digital cable box must be activated, or rather provisioned on the network, before it will allow you to see digital television. Even the digital cable box that that cable installer brings to your home is activated by the cable installer before the installer leaves your home. Most digital cable boxes that you can buy yourself also function as a DVR, whether it be a TiVo, DirecTV, Scientific Atlanta or Motorola digital cable box. Here we'll assume that you have TiVo, but the process to activate and provision your digital cable box is universal for all digital cable boxes and DVRs.

Digital cable box, studio shot
credit: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Activate a Digital Cable Box

Step

Connect one end of a coaxial cable to the "cable" RF connector on the back of the box. Connect the other end of the coaxial cable to the RF connector on the wall.

Step

Connect your HDMI, Component or RCA cables into the back of your digital cable box. Connect the other end of the cable to you television. Power up the television.

Step

Power up the digital cable box. When powering up for the first time, it can take as long as 15 minutes for the cycle to complete. Please be patient.

Step

Once the startup cycle has completed, you will see a message on your television screen that you must contact technical support at your cable company. Call technical support.

Step

Technical support will ask you to insert your CableCARD(s). Technical support will guide you to the menu to set up your CableCARD and provide them with the information to activate and provision your digital cable box on their network using your remote control. That information will include the CableCARD serial number, CableCARD MAC address and digital cable box MAC address.

Step

Restart your digital cable box. Enjoy your new digital cable box.